Taylor Kulp-McDowall, 2018, Physics

My internship at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) this summer gave me a window into computational physics research and its application to nuclear waste disposal and nuclear fusion. I constructed a particle pusher in MATLAB to investigate the wave-particle interactions within models of the Magnetic Centrifugal Mass Filter (MCMF). This filter is a prime candidate for improving separation of nuclear waste as it allows for high throughput of material and is also proliferation resistant. These properties allow it to be both safe and efficient. The model I created allowed me to investigate interesting phenomena arising from the fact that the filter uses rotating plasmas to separate waste. This model will also be helpful for gaining new insights into rotating plasmas more generally, which have applications in nuclear fusion and other plasma devices. The next stages of the project involve the implementation of particle collisions and turbulence within the particle pusher to increase its accuracy and applicability to the MCMF. I am very grateful for this opportunity, and I come out of it with a new set of skills in plasma physics, academic research, and the development of new technologies.